Golden Gate Bridge

Avoiding the Crowds: My Go-To Secret Golden Gate Bridge Parking Lot

Monday February 27, 2017

In the interest of being service-y today and trying to protect marriages and keep families whole, here is my not-exactly-secret-but-y’all-don’t-park-here-for-some-reason-so-we’re-calling-it-secret local’s tip for parking near the Golden Gate Bridge.

Most tourists and daytrippers try to lodge themselves somewhere near the visitor’s center on the Bridge’s eastern span. Not entirely unreasonable, but there are about 20 spaces and 40-100 cars, SUV’s and pickups trying to strong arm their way into them. Life is too short for dealing with that.



People who have a trick up their sleeve will then migrate to the western side of the bridge, because this ain’t their first time in San Fran. And there’s about 30 parking spots and 50 people trying to wedge their way into them.

Marriages and life-long friendships may begin fraying at this point. Someone inevitably has to go to the bathroom. Someone else from deep within the bowels of the car is shouting IT’S JUST A STUPID BRIDGE AND WE CAN’T EVEN SEE IT BEHIND THIS FOG LET’S JUST GO FIND FOOD.

So. Let’s forget those parking lots even exist. I’m going to need you to head up towards Lincoln Boulevard.

NO, no, you are still on Merchant Road and no, this is not the parking lot I meant. This parking lot also has about 20 spaces and 30 vehicles who are all in various stages of divorce trying to get into them. Don’t mess with that parking lot.

Lincoln Boulevard, past Merchant Road, is your friend. Ignore the closer parking lots. Head towards the totally undesignated, even on Google Maps, parking lots that offer ample parking. Ok, it might not look legit and maybe that’s why no one parks there, but I promise it’s ok to park there. It’s officially called “overlook parking” and you’ll descend right into the overlook plaza overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.

Here’s my diagram:



Walk through Battery Goddfrey, where wildflowers urge themselves through cracks in the abandoned concrete military installations, with views of the Pacific Ocean and Golden Gate Bridge all around you.

If you want to hike onto the bridge, continue walking past the battery, under the Golden Gate Bridge and pop up at the Visitor’s Center. Then, the Golden Gate Bridge and views of San Francisco Bay and the city are all yours.

(And, yeah, the lead photo on the post was taken from Battery Goddfrey. It’s a really interesting angle of the Golden Gate Bridge!)



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